Distraction by Bruce Sterling

A disappointment

Sterling is a great author but this was not a great book.

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My rating

Four out of ten.

Die hard Sterling fans will find it essential but he is capable of producing much finer work that this.

My review

The author tells the tale of Oscar Valparaiso, a geneticly tweaked near-human living in a near future world. Denied electability by his background, he works in the campaign team of a disintegrating politician while pursuing his own agenda involving the control of a government research base.

All through this, his world teeters on the brink of collapse as corrupt politicians and the onslaught of new technologies pile up waves of problems.

This setting has the potential to be a really remarkable novel but ultimately, it fails. None of the characters are satisfactorily explained. Too often, they select a course of action which, while necessary to the direction of the plot, seems not to fit in with the picture painted of their ambitions and motivations.

Finally, the story falls into an all too common trap in modern SF. It is almost as if the author realises that he has nearly reached the books allotted quota of words without having ended the narrative. So, the reader is presented with a frenzied winding up of the plot to reach the author's desired conclusion.